Skip to main content
4:00 am
very much tonight. it was an honor to have you on the phone. >> happy to have been here and happy to represent elizabeth for a moment. she's in a better place and out of pain, that's the main thing. >> thank you very much. kenneth cole, chairman of amfar, sorry for your loss and sorry we don't have more time to discuss this. that is all the time we have for this edition. "the rachel maddow show" is up next. good evening, rachel. good evening, lawrence. thank you for that. thanks to you at home for staying with us this hour. we will be joined live from libya in a moment by nbc's richard engel, doing amazing reporting from the war zone there. are we allowed to call it a war zone? let's call it a war zone, while interviewing rebels on the frontlines in libya earlier today. richard and his crew found themselves on the wrong side of what i think was an artillery barrage. that is to say they were not far from it and covering from a safe distance, they were in the
4:01 am
middle of it. richard and his crew are fine. we will have that amazing footage for you in a moment and richard will join us live. but put yourself in richard engel's shoes for a moment. if you had the job of being nbc's chief foreign correspondent, and say like him you speak arabic, your special area of expertise is the middle east, it's hard to imagine at this point when you get to come home, isn't it? i mean, the uprisings in tunesia that began four months ago, continued to rickochet, swell through north africa and through the mideast, bahrain, yemen, syria, now libya. as our country tries to get our american heads around not only what's happening in the mid east but also our relationship to it as americans, the great american awkwardness at the heart of this is how close the united states is and how supportive the united states has been to all of the leaders that are now getting overthrown by their own people, or where there are people trying it. from tunesia to
4:02 am
to yemen, to worries about al qaeda and extremism in that area of the world. he is supposedly our ally against terrorism. even moammar gadhafi, most americans if they think of him at all think of him as a ridiculous cartoon villain. even he has recently been considered an os tensable american ally. whose planes the american military shot down in 1986. a man whose house ronald reagan shot a missile. even gadhafi was made into a supposed u.s. ally by the george w. bush administration when they were searching for something to call a diplomat i can victory after the fiasco that was the fake weapons of mass destruction in iraq. it is hard enough to figure out how americans can best help out popular uprisings of people that want to determine their own future instead of living under a
4:03 am
despot. that is hard enough. how do you figure it out when the despot in question is our despot. when he has enjoyed american support, american seal of approval? that's why there was this collective national stomach turning when we saw images of iuste g cannisters thrown at the people in egypt. the u.s. was neutral, then moved against mubarak. but had mubarak kept control of the military, ultimately it wouldn't have been tear gas, it would have been american tanks and f-16 fighter jets squaring off against the peaceful protest movement america was supporting. in libya now, there's some of that same awkwardness. justin elliott had a piece at that was helpful and interesting, noting that the george w. bush administration's
4:04 am
embrace of gadhafi and their military brought about something a year ago that brought senior libyan officers to the headquarters of the u.s. pentagon command center leading the fight against that exact same libyan military. think about that a second. upper echelons of the libyan military got to tour and see the behind the scenes action at the pentagon division now fighting them in a war. and it is looking more and more like a war. the u.n. security council vote that authorized what's happening, that vote was to protect civilians by enforcing a no-fly zone over the country, right? but it authorized member states taking, quote, all necessary measures to protect civilians there. we are now into that all necessary measures part. reports from libya saying there is no one other than the coalition flying over libya. only coalition aircraft are in the skies.
4:05 am
but what they are doing is attacking gadhafi's military on the ground, attacking tanks and missile launchers, attacking military ground forces. >> our priorities are mechanized forces, artillery, those mobile integrated -- those mobile surface to air missile sites, interrupting lines of communication that supply their beans and their bullets, their command and control and any opportunities for sustainment of that activity. >> to be clear, what is happening in libya includes enforcing that no-fly zone, but it also is more than that. it also includes essentially a u.s.-led war on gadhafi's military. and the u.s. leadership part of it the american government keeps saying, the leadership part will end soon. that's what president obama said when asked last night about his exit strategy.
4:06 am
>> the exit strategy will be executed this week in the sense we will be pulling back from our much more active efforts to shape the environment. >> this week says president obama. mr. obama's secretary of state, hillary clinton, reading from the same page. >> it will be one week on saturday. will it happen by saturday? >> well, it will be days, whether by saturday or not depends upon the evaluation made by our military commanders, along with our allies and partners. >> this repeated insistence that the u.s. is not going to lead this thing, it doesn't just have an international audience, it is not just about telling the muslim world, for example, that america isn't leading this charge, it is not just about telling american allies in this intervention they better step up, that u.s. forces aren't going to lead it forever. this repeated assertion that the u.s. is going to pull back also has a domestic audience, and frankly a legal one. the idea that libya is a limited intervention, an intervention that will only take a matter of days, that isn't going to be a
4:07 am
sustained military effort, that is key to obama administration's justification for not getting authorization from congress for doing what they're doing. as charlie savage noted in "the new york times" this week, the obama administration appears to be operating on the theory that libyan intervention falls short of what would prompt any necessary congressional authority. the acting solicitor general making the same case. under war powers resolution the president can take military action without first getting authorization from congress if the u.s. involvement is expected to be limited in its expected nature, scope, and duration. so think about this. this is where we are. we have a president who does not want the u.s. to be seen as stomping into another muslim country. we have the repeated promises that the u.s. is not going to be running this thing for much longer, the way we have been for the past few days. we have a president that proceeded to this action by a
4:08 am
procedural means that requires it to be limited in duration and scope, and we have no clear indication of who takes over from the u.s. if the u.s. does really get out of the lead. the u.s. and britain clearly want nato to take over. france on the other hand says they don't want that, and they are going to invent some committee or something to run it instead. at this point, who knows, could be nato, could not. the very first nato combat mission ever took place in 1994. it came after the u.n. authorized a no-fly zone over bosnia. in february, 1994 in support of that un resolution, nato shot down four serbian jets that violated the no-fly zone. that was the first combat action nato took as an alliance in its history. after shooting down the jets, there was a targeted nato bombing campaign that u.s. forces were involved in. an american scott o' grady was
4:09 am
shot down and survived six days on the ground before being rescued by u.s. forces. then what had been a limited engagement in bosnia, a no ground troops engagement there broke open in the summer of 1995, when 8,000 men and boys were massacred by bosnian serb forces. just wives and daughters were left behind. what nato had been doing up to that point was judged to be not enough. the bombing campaign was stepped up massively, it was a nato effort, but one in which the u.s. took the lead role. >> though it is officially a nato operation, american air power dominates the raids. more than 200 allied sortees so far. war planes floou this corridor across bosnia into sarah yaf oh, knocking out serb air defenses, then bombing targets near the city. >> that sustained bombing campaign went on for weeks and weeks, ultimately forced dayton peace accords in november that same year.
4:10 am
then afterwards, to enforce the peace accords, even though president clinton said, promised, there would be no u.s. ground troops involved there, in the end there were. >> they asked for america's help as they implement this peace agreement. america has a responsibility to answer that request, to help turn this moment of hope into enduring reality. to do that, troops from our country and around the world would go into bosnia to give them the confidence and support they need to implement their peace plan. i refuse to send american troops to fight a war in bosnia, but i believe we must help to secure the bosnian peace. >> what started there ended up with 20,000 on the ground there. it is not to debate the merits now, what the u.s. is doing in libya, but this is the open question in front of the country now, the question of tactically
4:11 am
whether it is possible for the u.s. to be involved in an international mission like this in a way that is limited, that is short term, one in which the u.s. is a participant and not a prime mover. that is what president obama says he wants. that is the grounds on which he has proceeded to this without authorization from congress. that's what he says he wants. is it possible? richard engel joins us live from the thick of things in libya next.
4:12 am
4:13 am
if you are a regular viewer of the show, you probably benefitted the way we all have from the work of nbc's richard engel. if this is your first time watching or if you haven't seen richard's reporting, you will want to see what we are going to air next. richard is in libya where he was on the frontlines with the rebels today. he and the rebels and the crew got caught up in a rather traumatic mess while his rather incredible camera crew caught it on tape. everyone is fine after a harrowing experience. we have the footage next and
4:14 am
richard engel is joining us live and alive to show us just what happened and to explain what it means about this war and how it may end. please stay with us.
4:15 am
the international bombing campaign began in libya, it stole but does not appear to have stopped gadhafi's march on the re today, his forces were still bombarding civilians 100 miles outside benghazi in the town of ajdabiya. that's where nbc foreign correspondent richard engel traveled to today for what ended up being a harrowing look at the frontlines in the battle for libya.
4:16 am
>> reporter: the road outside benghazi today is a graveyard of gadhafi's armored vehicles, destroyed by w afr hr d ha dvi soh anked by der we reached the rebels' front line. there are no trenches or sandbags, just men poorly armed that wt fht thfront lines aboufive les outside the town of ajdabiya. outgunned, rebels say they are killed whenever they approach gadhafi's forces. we have light weapons, he has tanks, complained one man. another rebel showed me he isn't actually armed at all. >> it is a toy gun. >> reporter: this is amazing, he handed me a toy gun, i didn't realize until he put it in my hand, it is plastic, it is a toy.
4:17 am
three explosions, 50 yards away. so we were doing interviews, incoming rounds landed in this area. i assume the rebels are starting to flee. rebels cheer they survive this assault by gadhafi's army. there have been several artilleries landed here, we are using this concrete to take cover, see if the artillery round stops long enough for us to get out of the interview. shockingly, it leaves him to retrieve the plastic gun, but abandons it as we hear another explosion. we leave a few minutes later, find rebels regrouping at a safer distance. but without leadership or close air support they desperately want from the west, the rebels are struggling. >> richard engel is back in benghazi, joins us from there tonight. richard, thank you for joining
4:18 am
us, staying up so late to do so. we are all very glad you guys are safe. >> reporter: thank you. it is a pleasure to be with you as always. i was listening to the intro, so i'm not allowed to ever go back to new york again? i guess i have to keep revolution surfing across the middle east. i am never going to enjoy your good drinks. >> i will have to meet you in some country where liquor is legal. i don't think you're going to be allowed to come home, man. this stuff is not ending. >> reporter: next you're going to say we went to college together but weren't friends. but we'll go on from there. inrniol rc tt e fighting in libya, are they fighting gadhafi's military directly now or are they counting on what can be done by the rebels like the ones you were with today? >> reporter: they're giving a very sort of mixed message. they're joining the fight halfway.
4:19 am
and it is very difficult to fight a war when you're tying your own hands behind your back, and when you're on the frontlines, you realize completely that this incredible western support is so appreciated and so crucial. i'm in benghazi now. this city probably would have been overrun and there would have been massacres here if you speak to almost anyone if gadhafi's forces had gotten in. the people are very happy about that. then you go to ajdabiya where the rebels probably wouldn't have gotten that far had the intervention not taken place, so already that's some progress. but then when you get to the front line, you see the rebels and they can't get further because gadhafi's troops and tanks and artillery are still in a part of ajdabiya, and the rebels are begging for close air support. they want apaches, a-10s, and it wouldn't take that much. a few apaches flyi the rebels to go forward and
4:20 am
sort of finish the job, but that kind of intimate relationship with a-10s or apaches, the kind of thing you need ground troops to do or someone that can communicate with the aircraft above, doesn't seem to be going that far. they threw them a life preserver but haven't gotten them to the boat. >> you talk about the need af i
4:21 am
4:22 am
4:23 am
4:24 am
4:25 am
4:26 am
4:27 am
4:28 am
4:29 am
4:30 am
4:31 am
4:32 am
4:33 am
4:34 am
4:35 am
again tag moin about ohio beuse i knowore about ohio, more meani theye ta'rng rise. ey declared this on the middle clas taking rights fropeopm and lost the focus on jobs
4:36 am
negative polng by and large has been that they are ting rights andren't pang yi attention to whthey are so grossly popuunr unbelievably quickly which normly dalsn't happen for a new executive. in oo, we don't have a recall process, b voters can deci whher etey acct this law. ere wi be petitions afte thgovernor s the bill, after he signs it to lin, the recall, thiserdum rkely to s a different direction in the untrco they've not rnedveractically >> i wonder abouthat i guess re political utili of ty something like aerendum that you describe.
4:37 am
every time you look at anythin economically populist making it to tallot, like raising mimum wage or methsog ab rights opeopf that work for a living, it tends to t only pass but pasby as ot, d drive democric vot turno things on th claw back a lot of losses from going to dve liky democratic rs to e polls. repeal of collective bargainin rights. i think they alrea he begun to fear what this is going to me politically for their careers personallynd for the pay. we go to the ballot in novber.em we have this referendum, repeal tang away of collective bargaingig rhts. you see a whole new group of people voting for democrats now, police and fire, who have not been so demoaticcrand you see teachers and nurses and others
4:38 am
instead of voting 60%, maybe they vote 85% democratic, and that changes the whole equation, plus the kind of momentum. one of the this we are doing, we are starting to organize. i encourage people to go on my weite, to sign up, help begin the referendum process. i think you're going to o e organizing in my state and other rerganizinbecause they a unhappy. omething we haven't seen in this coury in a long time. people are driven by feelings of anger if they're being targeted like teaers, but you're seeing a lot of religious people and a lot of advocates for all kinds of rightand people who are just uappy with what they are doing to the middle class and to people that work for a living. i ink that's a wave that the republicans were not expecting a
4:39 am
uple months ago tathey're now becoming fearful of. >> in terms of natnal io importance of this and whether or not it is fully appreciated, also i guess whether or not this is going to translate into different politics on capitol hill as opposed to just in the streets of the state capitol around the cntry, there was suppedly a big national tea party convention this weekend in florida. theyad like 25 speakers, all of this entertainmt, aenist tea party folks. the turnout was something on the order of 300 people. g, empty conference roomfull of no tea partiers. meanwhe, eilry day if you google tea party, especilyal about how it iaffecting national politics, the coverage isust as intense as it ever wa as if this is still a movement drivi american politics. you have 100,000 people in the streets of madison. five straight weeks of tens of the beltway doesn't seem to be catching onto e fact this may >> whether it is the senate and
4:40 am
house, they are usually the last to know. i think that's right what you id. columbus where they had demonstrations and places like 1,000 people show up. i heard people say at the rallies 15 people across the street holding tea party signs. they are really overmatched. the influence of the tea party is felt among house republicans in columbus and in washington, the freshmen that subscribe to the tea party on philosophy and agenda, they're still there, still speaking out, still voting with their legislative cards unfortunately. so their impact is there, but our impact is longer term because in the end, people in this country care about fairness. that's why religious folks, that's why nonpublic employees, labor unions and nonunions alike, people in the workplace that care about being treated
4:41 am
decently in this society are coming to our side on it. i think it's really clear. >> sherrod brown from ohio, good to have you here. >> always a pleasure. happy birthday, health reform. our birthday gift to health reform is return of debunktion junction. that's coming up. first, one more thing about republican governors making themselves famous. maine's governor paul lepage supports union stripping in his state. when wisconsin erupted in huge protests against the union stripping bill, governor lepage in maine got publicly excited about the prospect protests would come to maine next as he tried to pull off the same thing. he also proposes raising retirement age for state workers and supports a huge 19th century roll back of child labor laws. in case the whole hostility against working people wasn't big enough, they are going so far as to sensor art about
4:42 am
people that work for a living. he is tearing down art on the basis of content because he thinks it is too working class. department of labor in maine moves into consolidated headquarters in 2007. they commissioned a mural, showing the history of working people in maine. it shows loggers, people on strike, shows the aforementioned child laborers that governor lepage doesn't have a problem with. his administration decided to dismantle mural, take it down. and you know, frankly, you can see how it might be distracting for a paul lepage led agency. you try to do that with all of those socialist eyes staring at you judging, how would you like it? [ male announcer ] undeniably colorful, seriously smooth,
4:43 am
and in excellent condition. those are your lips with new covergirl lip perfection. it doesn't just give you beautiful color now, it gives you more beautiful lips in 7 days. in a single stroke, rich color rocks your lips. in a single week, silk therapy moisturizers help smooth and soften them. how perfect! [ male announcer ] new lip perfection. in 44 lip perfecting shades. from easy, breezy, beautiful covergirl.
4:44 am
4:45 am
as you might expect, a man named newt gingrich has a strong opinion about president obama's handling of the air strikes on libya. in fact, depending which day you ask him, mr. gingrich has several strong opinions about libya which are mutually exclusive of one another. such a scenario cries out for debunktion junction. we will hear that cry just ahead.
4:46 am
you've been stuck in the garage, while my sneezing and my itchy eyes took refuge from the dust in here and the pollen outside. but with 24-hour zyrtec®, i get prescription strength relief from my worst allergy symptoms. it's the brand allergists recommend most. ♪ lily and i are back on the road again. where we belong. with zyrtec®, i can love the air®.
4:47 am
4:48 am
4:49 am
today, speaker of the house john boehner tweeted gleefully about how awful health reform is. quote, one year later, job crushing obamacare remains as unpopular as ever. he even invented a health reform
4:50 am
suction hashtag for his followers. what he links to is a cnn poll on their website. they titled it time doesn't change views on healthcare law. remember, mr. boehner is telling people to read the poll proves how unpopular health reform is. but what this thing he links to actually says is 43% of americans are in fact opposed to health reform, in cnn's words, because it was, quote, too liberal. but 37% of americans like it. and an additional 13% of americans wanted even more liberal version of health reform. so 43% don't like it, a total of 50% like icn
4:51 am
kill you about making up things about
4:52 am
4:53 am
4:54 am
4:55 am
4:56 am
with, over 27 years ago. he describes the medical procedures used to save her life. this is strong stuff. this senator's claimhis threat
4:57 am
4:58 am
provide help to the rebels. this is a moment to get rid of him. do it.
4:59 am
also true. it is true that he is for intervention in libya, it is also true he's against intervention in libya. let's review. less than tw his facebook page that he was against intervening.

The Rachel Maddow Show
MSNBC March 24, 2011 4:00am-5:00am EDT

News/Business. (2011)

TOPIC FREQUENCY Libya 18, U.s. 18, Gadhafi 11, Nato 9, Us 6, Richard Engel 6, Maine 5, Ajdabiya 4, America 4, Benghazi 4, Obama Administration 2, U.n. 2, Columbus 2, Lepage 2, Yemen 2, George W. Bush 2, Paul Lepage 2, Kenneth Cole 1, Moammar Gadhafi 1, Em 1
Network MSNBC
Duration 01:00:00
Scanned in Annapolis, MD, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Port 1235
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec mp2
Pixel width 720
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color

disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 5/21/2011